Annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank discuss trade, development and monetary policies

The 2018 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) took place from 9-10 October in Bali, Indonesia. Ministers and other high-level officials debated the future of fiscal and monetary policy, development, and the need for greater collaboration to boost confidence in international trade. In the opening plenary, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde called for countries to consider a ‘new multilateralism’, leading to a ‘more inclusive, people-centred, and results-oriented’ international system that would facilitate cooperation. She highlighted the importance of making the trade system fit for tackling current challenges, such as ‘inequality, technology, and sustainability’. Several IMF and WBG related bodies held their meetings around the same dates. A communiqué released after the 38th Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) on 13 October, noted that while ‘the global expansion remains strong’, projections suggest that ‘the recovery is increasingly uneven’. It predicted that ‘policy uncertainty, historically high debt levels, rising financial vulnerabilities, and limited policy space could further undermine confidence and growth prospects’. The Development Committee, a joint IMF-World Bank body emphasized that ‘downside risks to global growth have intensified’ and noted ‘the crucial role of international trade for economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development’.